Monday, May 10, 2010

Cherry blossom

On May 8th, hubby and I went to see Cherry blossom near a shrine named Hakusan jinja located in Akatsuka Yokobori of Yuzawa city in Akita prefecture. Hanami (flower viewing) is a traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, usually cherry blossoms (sakura) or Japanese plum blossoms (ume). Sakura bloom in Japan from late January (in Okinawa) to early May (in Hokkaido). The cherry blossom season is relatively short and the blossoms last only a week or two. Last year on April 18th, hubby and I viewed cherry blossom at its full bloom in Seishi Park in Nikaho city and at Honjo Park in Yurihonjo city of Akita prefecture. This year sakura was in full bloom in Akita prefecture during the golden week holidays, which was about two weeks later than last year. We were on a sightseeing trip to New York during these holidays and so we saw the cherry blossoms after the blooming peak was over. We loved viewing the pink and white cherry blossoms with a tinge of green leaves.

The day we went for sakura viewing was a clear day with fine weather. Hakusan jinja shrine in Yuzawa town is about 65 km away from our home and it took us 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach there by our car. On reaching the place, we saw a huge lone shidare-zakura tree next to Hakusan jinja shrine located at the base of a small mountain. Thus this tree is known as ‘Hakusan jinja no shidare-zakura’ (hanging cherry tree of Hakusan shrine). The God of the shrine is locally known by the name Oshira-sama. Therefore the sakura tree is also referred to as ‘Oshira-sama no shidare-zakura’ (hanging cherry tree of Oshira-sama God). Shidare-zakura, also known as weeping cherry, has hanging branches that fall like those of a weeping willow, and bear cascades of pink flowers.
Panoramic view of shidare-zakura tree and a small mountain

The car parking area was about five minutes walking distance from the shrine and we walked through vegetable fields to reach the shrine.
Me walking from the car-parking area towards Hakusan jinja shrine

On reaching the shrine area we were struck by the visual beauty of shidare-zakura tree. The height of this lone tree is 10 meters and the trunk is 3.65 meters at the base. The branches of the tree are spread over 19 meters, both in the east-west direction as well as north-south direction. The tree is about 200 years old. The color of the flowers and the condition of the tree trunk is excellent. This kind of sakura tree is rarely seen around this area. The tree looked exquisite and beautiful, and was full of pinkish colored flowers with a tinge of pale green leaves from top to bottom. We took a few photos of the sakura tree for the sake of memory.

Hubby standing in front of shidare-zakura

I prayed at Hakusan jinja shrine for the peace and health of our family. Hubby compiled a video of me praying at the shrine.
Me standing at the torii gate of Hakusan jinja shrine

Hakusan jinja shrine

Video of me praying at Hakusan jinja shrine

We leisurely walked around the place and enjoyed viewing the sakura blossoms from different angles.
Another view of shidare-zakura

Me and shidare-zakura

Hubby and shidare-zakura

We bought some food souvenir from a small food stall located near the car parking area. The person at the counter of the food stall gave us a plate full of colorful boiled mountain vegetables called sansai to eat and enjoy along with cups of green tea.
Food stall

Me eating mountain vegetables

We enjoyed viewing shidare-zakura blossom very much. Next, we visited a few caves located about 10 minutes car drive away from Hakusan jinja shrine. Iwai-dou okutsu caves are located near Omonogawa River in Yuzawa city at the boundary of Akita and Yamagata prefectures. The caves are the ruins of Joumon period and are about 2000 years old. The ruins cover an area of 150x40 square meters. There are four caves in this area. There were blooming sakura trees in front of the cave ruins and we took a few photos of the sakura blossoms.
Panoramic view of sakura blossoms near Iwai-dou cave ruins

Me standing in front of sakura blossoms near Iwai-dou cave ruins

Hubby standing in front of sakura blossoms near Iwai-dou cave ruins

We had to climb only a few steps to reach two of the adjacent caves. Hubby compiled a video of our climb up to the caves as well as a video of a small shrine located inside one of the caves.

Video of climbing up the steps leading to cave ruins

Video of a small shrine located inside one of the caves

We saw only three of the cave ruins as we could not locate the fourth one. Although some repair work was underway inside one of the caves, the entire place was quiet, gentle, and peaceful.

Three of the Iwai-dou cave ruins

Hubby and I loved viewing shidare-zakura blossom near Hakusan jinja shrine as well as the Iwai-dou cave ruins.

1 comment:

victorian inn bed and breakfast said...

This is a very great place and an ideal destination to explore and reveal all the unseen discoveries of this great destination.

This place is best suited for all the travel and travel photography for its beautiful spots and charm and attractiveness.